Can I just ask how you know which DC have been excessively tutored, DebsB?
Well, I don't know
, of course. But I'm aware that the amount of tutoring varies a lot. And I'm aware that some kids do well enough on the exam to get in, and then have a miserable time struggling to keep up right from the beginning of Y7 and for the whole time they're at the school. Maybe some of those children were just unusually lucky on the day of the test and did better than they normally would.
What I'm certain of is that the bottom of the academic pile at a selective school can be a demoralising place to be. Consider this actual conversation I had with a student in Y10:
Student: I'm useless at maths. I just can't do it.
Me: What grade are you hoping to get for your maths GCSE?
Me: Then you can't be useless at maths, then. You do realise that out there in normal schools, what most people worry about is whether they will manage to get a C in maths, not whether or not their A will have a star on it? If you were in one of those schools, you'd still be aiming for A* but you'd probably be in a top set for maths and think you were really good at it.
There are some students - lovely kids many of them, well behaved, try hard - who struggle so much that you just wonder how on earth they got in. I can't prove it, but I'm as certain as I can be without actual proof that if a child wouldn't have got in without lots and lots of tutoring, but has lots and lots of tutoring and as a result gets in, then that child is more likely to end up struggling than a child who gets in, or would have got in, with more moderate preparation. Note that I say "more likely" and not "certain". But I didn't want to take the risk with DD. If she couldn't get in with the level of tutoring I organised for her, I'd have preferred for her to go to a comp and shine there.